Friday, February 28, 2014

Free PDF Converter

For years I have used Pdftoword to convert pdfs to word documents.  Google Drive also now does it, but not as consistently well as Pdftoword.  But the problem with the latter is that it only lets you convert a few pages.  Well Free Online PDF Converter just wrote me to say that you can convert with them an unlimited number of pages.  Just upload the document and put in your e-mail and push go and you will get a word document shortly thereafter. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mansa Musa: Richest Man Ever

That's a picture of Mansa Musa, the empeor of Mali in the 14th century. He is the richest man in the world, "after adjusting for inflation," according to this article in the Huffington Post. He was worth over 400 billion, making him richer than Bill Gates.

Thanks to my colleague, Larua McBride, for sending me the link.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta: Documentary

Tim Mackintosh-Smith follows in the footsteps of Ibn Battuta in this three part BBC documentary series. Only this first part is available on line.

Smith begins in Tangiers where Battuta was born and travels to Egypt where he visits the oldest university in Cairo. I haven't watched it all but what I've seen looks pretty good.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Common Threads of Revolutions

Here's an interesting essay about the common elements that characterize most revolutions. Writing for the Atlantic Post, Dr. Haytham Mouzahem, a Middle East analyst for the newspaper, argues that while revolutions may have different catalysts, they share common elements that include "circumstances of time and place and diverse cultural, religious, social, political and economic communities that witness these revolutions."

My AP world students recently completed a project comparing the causes of the French Revolution with one of the countries involved in the Arab Spring.  This might have been a great essay for them to read before starting because it offers some context about all revolutions.

Thanks to Joe Taraborrelli for tweeting the link.

Research Tools in a Google Drive Document

I watched this video from FreeTech4Teachers and was inspired to see more on how to research inside a Google Drive document. The best one is above. It shows the amazing things you can do by going to "Tools," and then "research."  You can do things like
  • do a Google search
  • find scholarly articles
  • find images and choose between ones that need citations or not
  • how to drag images into the document
  • have MPA, APA, Chicago style footnotes automatically embedded into the document

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What Did the Romans Do?

After we finish our Roman contributions assignment, I love showing this Monty Python clip which goes through the entire list. 

Split Screen

We have a paper shortage in my school!  Yes I know that sounds funny from me, but we also have a laptop shortage as not every teacher has as many as we want for our students.   So one of my jobs has been to try to figure out how to conserve paper so this video is one thing I have shared with my department as it allows you to copy one browser to another without printing! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ibn Battuta Lesson from Stanford's Reading Like a Historian

Stanford University's History for Education Reading Like a Historian, released a new World History lesson on the travels of Ibn Battuta and the Muslim world in 1320.

Students read from Battuta's travel book, the Rihla, and a secondary source and complete a chart organizing their information into political, economic and environmental categories.

The full lesson includes a short power point that explains the Rihla. If you've never tried Stanford's  lessons, you should. They are terrific and can be used without modification.

Monday, February 17, 2014

World Economy from 1000 to 2030

This very cool graph shows how China and India ruled the world before 1800. And it looks like they might be rising again. Thanks to Professor Bremmer (@ianbremmer)  for tweeting the image. The source is Citigroup.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Meiji Revolution in 14 minutes

Studying Imperialism in Asia? Here's an excellent 14 minute clip about the Meiji Revolution.

Screencasts for Chrome/Chromebooks

I am sitting here enjoying the Olympics (long track is my favorite) and figuring out new things for the classroom/grading student assignments.

One thing that has been missing from Chromebooks has been a way to make screencasts.  Enter Screencastify!  While you still cannot record just a portion of the screen, it is huge step.  It also works on Chrome.  You can either download it onto your laptop or put upload it straight onto YouTube.

By the way Chromebooks are a great way for your school to get a sub $300 laptop for your students and works well if you are comfortable on the cloud.  I like them so much that we have two here at home for my kids.  

Jeopardy Templates

Here is a template for a Google Drive Presentation.

If you want other templates that are not for Google Drive, but you can use for free, go to Jeopardy Labs.  

Countries Never Invaded By Britain

There are only 22 countries never invaded by Britain. Thanks to Ian Bremmer(@ianbremmer)for tweeting the link.

Flipcon14 2014 Conference

The Flipped Learning Network is a great place to learn about new flipping techniques and connect with others are trying out the methodology.  This summer they will have both an in person and a virtual (makes sense!) conference you can attend from June 23-35 in Pennsylvania.  You can see some of the videos from last year's conference here.

Thanks to Hip Hughes for the heads up on the conference. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sepoy Mutiny Animated

Amusing animated review of Sepoy Mutiny form an Indian perspective.

Twitter, Hashtags and FakeTweet

My "teacher-students" have a snow day today which means they are looking at two flipped videos for their assignments today so I thought I'd share it with all of you.  The video above is 11 minutes and goes into how to set up a Twitter account, how to use it.  Secondly it looks at hashtags and when and why you might want one and finally it looks at FakeTweet which is exactly what it says it is.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WWI in SIx Minutes

Thanks to Larry Ferlazo for the G+ post on this video giving a cartoon history (with high school level information) on World War I. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Search My Blogs

It is hard for me to believe that over the course of the nearly six years of my three blogs (US, world, government) that there are now over 5000 posts.  So if you ever want to search for content or technology, just go to the upper left hand side of the blog and enter in what you need to find and all the appropriate pages will come up.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

28 Black People You Might Not Know

For Black History Month, The Good Men Project is highlighting a different black historical figure each day. Toussaint L’Ouverture, above, was the slave leader who led the Haitian slave revolt, which was the first successful slave revolt in history.

Bayard Rustin is pictured below. Ruskin worked in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He also spent time with Gandhi and learned non-violence from him and convinced Dr. Martin Luther King to adopt nonviolence as a political strategy.

Thanks to @RaisingGreatMen for tweeting the link.

Friday, February 7, 2014

"The Parthenon Through Ancient Eyes"

The author of a new book about the Parthenon and its significance to many cultures discusses the monument's meaning today with PBS. The book is called "The Parthenon Enigma,” and the author is Joan Breton Connelly.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

14,000 French Revolution Images

Open Culture is a site I like to go periodically mostly because of its unusual interviews with musicians.  But occasionally there is also something that helps teachers.  For example it has a link to 14,000 images that are categorized into the sections by Stanford U, that you can see above in the picture.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Flipping the Classroom Presentation

Tomorrow I am doing a presentation for my county on flipping the classroom.  If you can make it it will be at the Leis Center at 1-3:30.  For those of you who can't here is what we will be doing.

  1. What will be taught:  We will learn how to record lectures for students to watch at home, how students can be accountable for that information and how to flip one’s classroom to do the “problem sets” in the classroom.
  2. Tutorial steps that will be finished in the class (each underlined item is linked to a tutorial)
    1. will learn  how to use Screencastomatic to learn how to record a ten minute lecture
    2. will discuss what can be done in the classroom
    3. will learn how class activities can be put on a Google Drive document and linked into Blackboard
    4. How to create a question sheet with embedded video. 
    5. learn how to split the laptop screen so students can see the video and their notes or you could use (tutorial)
    6. If you accumulate lots of videos, here is how you create a youTube Playlist for Note Taking in a Flipped Classroom

Normally I ask my students to split their screen, but this relatively (it came out last April) new app called that does that for you, putting the video on the left and the notes on the right.  It is then synced with Google Drive so it automatically (if you approve it to do so) puts the notes in your Google  Drive folder.  You will also note that whenever you begin taking notes, it shows where you are in the video and if you click on that line of  the notes, it will take you back to the relevant place in the video.  

It is also available for Google Apps so your students can get it in the free or paid Google Drive.

Above is a video showing you how to use it. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

German Bombs Change British Golf Rules in 1940

Thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link to this tweet originally posted by @HistoricalPics. Please let your students know that they can ask for a penalty shot if their original stroke is affected by a bomb!